Acupuncture with a difference

Our Acupuncturist is also a Naturopath:  combining Eastern and Western natural medicine gives you the best opportunity of solving your health issues naturally.

At Natural Pain Solutions we offer Acupuncture with a difference.  Our experienced Acupuncturist, Mr Scott Hankinson, has been in practice since 1994 not only as an Acupuncturist, but as a Naturopath.  This means that he is always looking at your health issues from two different perspectives, and you get the best of both worlds – traditional Western naturopathic and herbal medicine, and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Natural Pain Solutions is one of the longest-running, oldest Acupuncture clinics in Ringwood, having been established in 2007.  Since then we’ve successfully treated thousands of clients with a vast range of complaints.  Our primary area of experience is pain relief and pain management, and our focus is always to address the true, underlying cause of pain – as well as to eliminate the symptoms.

What kind of evidence is there for Acupuncture?

The Acupuncture Evidence Project, last updated in 2017, reviewed the effectiveness of acupuncture treatment for 122 treatments over 14 clinical areas. Evidence of effect was found at various levels for 117 conditions. The results are summarised below.

Conditions with strong evidence supporting the effectiveness of acupuncture:

  • Allergic rhinitis (perennial & seasonal)
  • Knee osteoarthritis
  • Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (with
  • Migraine prevention
  • Chronic low back pain
  • Postoperative nausea & vomiting
  • Headache (tension-type and chronic)
  • Postoperative pain

Conditions with moderate evidence supporting the effectiveness of acupuncture:

  • Acute low back pain
  • Modulating sensory perception thresholds
  • Acute stroke
  • Neck pain
  • Ambulatory anaesthesia
  • Obesity
  • Anxiety
  • Perimenopausal & postmenopausal insomnia
  • Aromatase-inhibitor-induced arthralgia
  • Plantar heel pain
  • Asthma in adults
  • Post-stroke insomnia
  • Back or pelvic pain during pregnancy
  • Post-stroke shoulder pain
  • Cancer pain
  • Post-stroke spasticity
  • Cancer-related fatigue
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Constipation
  • Prostatitis pain/chronic pelvic pain syndrome
  • Craniotomy anaesthesia
  • Recovery after colorectal cancer resection
  • Depression (with antidepressants)
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Dry eye
  • Schizophrenia (with antipsychotics)
  • Hypertension (with medication)
  • Sciatica
  • Insomnia
  • Shoulder impingement syndrome (early stage) (with exercise)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Shoulder pain
  • Labour pain
  • Smoking cessation (up to 3 months)
  • Lateral elbow pain
  • Stroke rehabilitation
  • Menopausal hot flushes
  • Temporomandibular pain

Conditions with little or no evidence supporting the effectiveness of acupuncture:

  • Alcohol dependence
  • Nausea in pregnancy
  • Cocaine addiction
  • Smoking cessation (more than 6 months)
  • Epilepsy


There is still much work to be done regarding research into the effectiveness of acupuncture for the myriad of defined health conditions, and there are many conditions for which there is still ‘unclear’ or ‘insufficient’ evidence .  However, it is a mistake to interpret this as meaning acupuncture won’t work for these conditions.  It simply means what is says: that at this point in time, not enough quality research has yet been conducted for certain conditions to make a definitive assessment of effectiveness.

At our clinic, we regularly have clients who come to us for treatment for health problems in areas where there is currently unclear or insufficient evidence. We always remember that the practice of acupuncture is thousands of years old, and carries the hefty honour of being one of the few therapeutic techniques that has stood the test of time.

Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners focus on treating the individual, not the disease.

When looking at the list above, it is important to keep in mind that the model of evidence-based science has some serious limitations when applied to acupuncture.

The first problem is that the evidence-based model presupposes both the existence of isolated diseases (a Western concept) and that there is a single, measurable treatment used by a therapeutic modality.  In the case of acupuncture, however, there are a number of well-accepted treatment styles. Ten different acupuncturists may treat the same problem in ten different ways, all with varying degrees of success, depending not only on the technique used and the practitioner’s skill level, but on the individual patient it is being used for.

This leads to the second reason why the evidence-based model is too limited to be able to accurately assess the effectiveness of acupuncture for an individual client: it assumes that the purpose of a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner is to treat disease. This assumption is at odds with the philosophy of Traditional Chinese Medicine. TCM practitioners do not primarily treat disease; their focus is to treat the individual patient, whose condition is recognised as arising out of a complex and unique intertwining of physical, mental, and emotional patterns.

In other words, TCM recognises that just because one person has the same set of symptoms as another person, this does not mean the cause is the same.  Instead of classifying people into disease categories and then treating the disease, it looks for ‘patterns of disharmony‘ which, like our fingerprints, are different for each unwell individual, even if they exhibit the same symptoms.  For example, two clients both presenting with migraine may have completely different patterns of disharmony and will therefore need completely different placement of needles.  Quite simply, it’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, to standardise acupuncture to respond to standard Western categories of disease.

As you can see, it’s very hard to pin down Traditional Chinese Medicine, and consequently acupuncture, into a research study when the entire mode of operation in TCM is to embrace complexity and depth in diagnosis and treatment, rather than to simplify it.  The catch with trying to use an evidence-based research model for TCM is that it depends on the ability to measure the effect of a singular treatment on a singular, isolated condition, and this is not how TCM works.

Despite all this, acupuncture STILL has managed to show very positive research results for a wide range of conditions, and is now well-accepted and utilised by Western medicine!

Will acupuncture work for you?

The success or failure of acupuncture for you as an individual does not necessarily depend on whether there is scientific evidence for using acupuncture to treat your particular condition.  This is at best a guide, and at worst may discourage people from trying acupuncture if their condition is not listed.

Success or failure for YOU rests more on the individual practitioner’s ability to assist you to shift the patterns of disharmony within your body into patterns of harmony, or balance.  When in an optimal state, the body is in the best position possible to be able to do the repair work needed.  If successful, there is no longer any need for your body to ‘shout’ at you (via creating symptoms) it’s in trouble.

This requires not only a skilled practitioner, but a willingness on your part to heal, and even to change the aspects of your life that caused the patterns of disharmony to arise in the first place (of course, this doesn’t apply if you are seeking treatment for an unforeseen injury).  In this way, acupuncture is not a ‘cure’ for anything – it is a therapeutic tool that can be utilised by a person who is seeking to heal and is ready to play their own part in creating wellness.

If you have a diagnosed condition or disease, a wonderful aspect of coming to see a TCM practitioner is that you step into a world with a different understanding of health and ill-health.  Unlike the rock-solid, frightening concept of ‘disease’ which requires a singular ‘cure’ to be fixed,  ‘patterns of disharmony’ have the potential to dynamically change to ‘patterns of harmony’.  It is an approach that encourages the idea that health (like ill-health) happens through progression and change, rather than a single miraculous intervention.

While not as glamorous, this approach usually turns out to be far more empowering for the client.  A disease can seem monstrous, unchanging and insurmountable, whereas patterns, like water, can be changed and influenced, not only by TCM treatment but by the client themselves, through changing the food and lifestyle habits that played a part in creating the disharmony.  This gives clients a sense of possibility and optimism (a useful mental attitude to have when needing to heal, as shown again and again by ‘the placebo effect‘), instead of the fear and helplessness elicited by the idea of having a disease.

If your condition is listed above, or if you would simply like to see if acupuncture works for you via the old-fashioned ‘trial and error’ method, we invite you to give it a go!

At Natural Pain Solutions we take your health seriously and offer a fully professional service.  Rest assured our practitioner is a registered acupuncturist with AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency) and is also a professional member of ATMS (Australian Traditional Medicine Society).  We are also registered with all private health funds, and you can claim a portion of your treatment with most health funds on the spot at the clinic.

You can book online right now, or if you’d like to find out more please contact us by telephone on 03 9876 8786 or by using our online form, and one of our friendly staff will answer your questions and make your booking in person.

We look forward to seeing you at the clinic soon!

Book Online
Acupuncturist Ringwood
Healthy ageing